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CSotD: Post-Holiday Humor

We’re not doing politics today, but Rod Emmerson‘s cartoon is a combination of politics and social commentary, since in New Zealand, as this article from his paper explains, masks remain mandated for everyone in some settings and for employees in others, but are being largely discarded by the public in places where covid infections are low.

 

The country could be doing better, as this chart of worldwide statistics indicates, and, as the accompanying map shows — though it’s hard to tell red from maroon — it remains a hot spot.

I might not go on so much about covid in New Zealand if we didn’t share that red color, having 24 new cases per 100k people, compared to their 37, which is comparable in the grand scheme of things. Cases in my own community are fairly low and we’ve largely stopped masking except at the hospital where vulnerable people are, obviously, more concentrated.

Still, it’s a hot button issue, and there’s pushback on social media against people who question why someone alone in a car would wear a mask, and I do have to wonder if they wear it 24/7.

Then again, if you have your vent open, you can often tell if the person in the car ahead of you is smoking, so I suppose there’s a level upon which it makes sense.

I also saw someone doing yard work masked the other day, and my first response was that there was nobody else in view, but then thought that perhaps they’ve learned that masking protects them against allergans like dust and pollen, and so why not?

To which I would add that we had a couple at the dog park masking not to prevent catching it but because they already had and were protecting the rest of us.

All of which adds up to Emmerson’s point being well-taken, both because it’s better to be safe than sorry, and also because of the ever-present option to MYOB.

As noted at the start, it’s as much a piece of social commentary as a political statement.

 

As long as we’re mucking about down in New Zealand, we might as well join Joy of Tech in contemplating Amazon’s faux-Rings piece, which I don’t think was filmed there the way the real ones were.

According to the reviews — if you can find them — it’s not much at all like the original films, but Amazon is not only producing its own streaming content but continuing its pattern of copying successful products and releasing them at a lower price under its own banner, though, of course, it only did that in India and certainly not here, my goodness gracious.

Perhaps they feel guilty about it, which would explain why they’ve reconfigured their video streaming site to make it harder to find the stuff you want, though they’ve certainly made it easier to find the stuff they want you to want.

Purely unintentional, I’m sure.

 

And reversing into things we’re not supposed to want but do, Next Door Neighbors (AMS) has been riffing on self-check lanes at the grocery store.

As I’ve noted before, we managed to adjust to pumping our own gas and going to ATMs for simple transactions, and there was even a time when shopgirls fetched things from the shelf rather than having customers fill their own shopping carts.

I’m not sure, then, whether grocery store worker unions are planting all the sturm-und-drang over self-check automation or if it’s just the fact that we’re better at pissing and moaning today than we were in the past.

We’ve got three grocery chains here, one of which doesn’t have self-check, one of which has attended check stations (four at one store, six at another) and the third of which has unattended self-check but, as in the strip, deputizes people to assist as needed.

For all the complaining on social media, the self-checks seem to be where the lines are longest, and not simply because of malfunctions or because of the people who ignore the “small orders only” sign and check out six months worth of supplies at a time.

The one constant being that, whether it’s at the staffed checkstands or the self-checks, there are always those people who seem surprised when they’re asked for money and have to search for their wallets. I’m just grateful that the self-check isn’t set up for the folks who write checks and then have to examine their receipts and balance their checkbooks before moving on.

Dagnabbit.

 

But here’s a positive cartoon: Aislin (Terry Mosher) salutes Tony Esposito, who, a half century ago, stepped into the goal (somewhat literally) for the classic 1972 series between Canada and the USSR.

While it brings back memories of that groundbreaking series, it also brought back an important life lesson, which meant more to me than all the “Follow your dreams” and “Believe in yourself” and “Never give up” things professional athletes dole out to their fans.

It was learning that Tony Esposito threw up before every game.

He was a man of absolute iron on the ice, and knowing that he was scared and nervous before stepping out there made a big difference to me, since I was nearly as terrified before dates, before dances and certainly before playing my guitar on stage.

He was truly an inspiration!

 

Also on the sports beat, In The Bleachers (AMS) raises a question, not in the cartoon itself but in my mind, with this discussion of evaluating young commentators.

I note that the NFL Network, while it continues to have several women analysts, has lost some dynamic, experienced sports reporters — notably Aditi Kinkhabwala, Lindsay Rhodes and Kay Adams — in the past two years and wonder whether they jumped or were pushed, and why.

Point being that, as the NFL kicks off another season, I’m particularly wondering why they feature young, vibrant commentators during the week but then toss over to the usual gang of predictable old farts with their tired old badinage for the actual pre-game shows.

I realize that I fixate more on the presentation than on the games themselves, but, then, the networks devote more air time to presentation than to the games themselves.

 

Finally today, Bliss (AMS) offers this ancient earworm:

 

Community Comments

#1 Grant Thompson
September/6/2022
@ 8:50 am

Bill Russell was known to vomit before every game and he was as good as you can get. His teammates found it reassuring.

#2 Frank Mariani
September/6/2022
@ 12:27 pm

Jim Kelly was known to be a pregame puker. And before I get the predictable retort, yes, I’m sure he also puked AFTER each Super Bowl loss. *pa-dunk* [cymbal crash].
I’m the colorist for BLISS and always get a kick out of the nuanced humor. Maybe this was Steve Martin’s gag. I can see him doing this song on the banjo. Or mandolin.
Joking mode [ON]: “Mambo Italiano”? Yikes! I did not use a green, white and red palette! My ancestors weep! Joking mode: [OFF]

#3 Mike Peterson
September/6/2022
@ 3:30 pm

Colors aside, I’d have used a dog. God knows a cat doesn’t care what you sing, or if you do. A dog, by contrast, is sincerely fascinated with whatever you come up with to entertain him, and yourself. Thank god nobody hears what I say to my dog!

#4 Mike Peterson
September/6/2022
@ 3:41 pm

I’d note, btw, that the set design and choreography in this video are consistent with the overall quality of the song.

#5 Mary C McNeil
September/6/2022
@ 4:54 pm

You have “grocery store worker unions”? Gee – here in Ohio we didn’t know such things were possible.

A few years ago The Cleveland Baseball team broadcast crew had a young woman as the sideline interviewer. She was confined to grammas in the stands, etc etc. Then they brought in a male. He does actual interviews with athletes and laughs at all the inside jokes with the broadcasters. Obviously the women can’t do the “inside the jock-strap talk’.There are still Grammas in the stands but you only see them in a quick pan-by to show the posters. I wasn’t really in to the Gramma interviews, but I;m also not into the wink-wink-nudge-nudge snickers from the insiders..

#6 Mike Peterson
September/7/2022
@ 5:00 am

Mary: the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union is relatively strong and fairly widespread.

The women I named in particular primarily do player and coach interviews rather than human-interest material. If you click on those links, you’ll find they have relatively deep journalism backgrounds.

They’re not as often used as sideline reporters as much as they are assigned as analysts and studio interviewers, though they do travel to the game sites and provide reports in the leadup to games, mostly about what the team has (apparently) been preparing for and injury updates.

They appear to be highly respected by the players and coaches, while Judy Battista gets genuine inside information from the owners, which is why I’m puzzled that they don’t appear to be as valued by the network.

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